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Tuesday, July 29, 2014

SOLO PHILADELPHIA [DAY 1]

since being in DC, i planned on at least going to one other major east coast city. originally i was going to go to boston, but it was farther than i thought and the plane ticket was too expensive. i was also thinking about going some place in the south, like charleston, but once again, it was too far and i did not think it was worth the plane ticket. about a month ago, i finally decided to go to philadelphia. everyone told me i should go to to new york, but i opted out. i found it a bit too intimidating (way too crowded) and too big for a quick visit.

i am glad with my choice of philadelphia. it was the nation's first capital and is filled with american history. also, it is the perfect place to go for a weekend. there is not too much to do and everything is relatively close together.

i left very early in the morning on a megabus. it was a good option. the buses were in expensive, pretty roomy, and i got there earlier than the printed arrival time.



they dropped us off at union station. the station is in the art deco style and has this pretty statue.



my first stop was the university of pennsylvania's archeology and anthropology museum.



their big artifact is the sphinx. it has been in the museum since 1913 and is the largest sphinx in the western hemisphere.




after, i got a mushroom philly cheesesteak at jim's.



if bob saget (aka danny tanner) approves, then i approve.

after, i stopped at the independence hall visitors' center to get a map. there, i found out about the todd house, where dolley madison lived with her first husband and their two young children. at the time, there was a yellow fever epidemic in philadelphia. almost 1/10 of the city's population died within four months, including her husband and one of her young boys. i signed up for the tour (you can only go in the house through a tour). til then, i walked around the area.


i found carpenter's hall 

after scadadling for a while, i went to the todd house. i really enjoyed the tour. the ranger was great. unfortunately, i did not get very good pictures. 



the second story parlor.


after, the ranger took us to the bishop white house. he wanted to compare both the todd home (a middle class home) and the bishop white home (an upper class home). bishop white was a reverend and an important figure to the episcopal community.



the white family's second kitchen.

after, i took a walk to washington square. philadelphia loves two men the most: benjamin franklin (their #1) and george washington. franklin was raised in the city, while washington lived in the city during his presidency.


the tomb of the unknown revolutionary soldier. many soldiers were buried in mass graves under the park.





on my way to the hostel, i got a coffee malt milkshake.



i stayed at the philadelphia house. it was very different from my experience staying at the HI hostel in downtown san francisco. first, it does not look like a hostel. i was outside on my phone confirming i was at the correct address when the receptionist came out. second, as soon as you walk in, you have to take off your shoes. third, there are no locks on the individual bedrooms, only a security code lock on the front door and small lockers in the commons big enough for a school backpack. fourth,  it was significantly smaller. it could not have fit more than 16 people. 

even though it was different, i still enjoyed my time. they try to make the place much more homey. in reality, if you want to do anything, it has to be in commons, because the rooms are so small and there are only two bunks inside. it worked out well, because i was out most of the time.

now for a song! as i am typing, this song popped up on my pandora station. it's very good and is really self-explanatory when you take a listen. it makes me sway.


Friday, July 25, 2014

NEWSEUM & FREDRICKSBURG [WEEK 8]

on my day off, i went to the newseum. i had been waiting off because of the admission price, a whopping $23! i finally decided to cave in, and i was glad i did. i did not realize how much they focus on social injustice and photojournalism. my favorite part was the pulitzer prize gallery. in the middle of the room they show a documentary about the stories behind the photos.



part of the berlin wall.





more of the berlin wall.



an east german death tower



the view from their balcony (including the canadian embassy)



they even included the daily show and colbert report.



they included a little exhibit about journalists who were assassinated. for one journalist, a bomb was strapped under his car.



they also have the broadcasting atena from the world trade center.



another artifact was a bullet-riddled, armor-reinforced pickup truck used by reporters in the balkans. 

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on saturday, me and a few of my house mates were supposed to go to jamestown, but after driving half way there, the driver decided to turn around. i was mad. instead we exited the freeway and went to fredricksburg. here is where the battle of fredericksburg was fought during the civil war



the rock wall is original.



the innis house survived the war



even though most of the walls have been replaced since then, one wall stayed. it has bullet holes from the battle!

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the next day, i decided to go back to rock creek and see the pierce mill. the first time i was at the creek,  the mill was closed. while i was there, i ran into a ranger that i had met a few weeks prior at the old stone house. we had a nice conversation and remembered me. he even let me see the old barn which is closed to public due to a staff shortage.








i was actually a bit early, so decided to chill by the creek.

after, i also stopped at fort stevens because they were celebrating the bicentennial of the civil war, but it was a bit disappointing. the day before was the main festivities.

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later that week on my day off i decided to go back to the national mall and visit the places i had not already had the opportunity to see. the first place i visited was the national forestry service visitors' center. it is very small (and i was a bit disappointed to not see a gift shop), but as soon as entered i saw at the front desk....



the one and only.....SMOKEY THE BEAR



it was magical. and i got some freebees.



after, i went to the smithsonian castle

then, i went to the national museum of african art, but became distracted. as soon as i walked in, they had a free activity to burn and paint gourds. i wish i had more time, but i worked on it for a good hour. by the time i was done, it was getting late. i plan on going back to actually see the exhibits before i leave.


i received some battle scars.

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now for a song! one of my favorite songs of all time is the lumineers' 'slow it down.' i had not heard it for a long time, but it popped up on pandora and i was reminded of how good it is.




Thursday, July 17, 2014

4th OF JULY & ARLINGTON [WEEK 7]

this week, i had an extra long weekend due to the 4th, which also meant i got a lot done. thursday, i went to rock creek national park. unlike the other sites that i have been to run my the nps, this is an actual park with trails and minimal structure.



we decided to walk the trail.



then i thought it was a good idea to go off the trail to take a picture. it was not.




on my way back, i must of disturbed a hornet's nest. a hornet stung/bit me and everytime i would swat it away it would come back to sting/bite me again. we played this game of tag 6 times before he decided to leave me alone. it hurt. i sucked it up and tried to enjoy the park.





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on the actual 4th, i decided to go shopping in georgetown. while there, i decided to have a nice meal. i went to some seafood place and had grilled tilapia and mashed potaters.



then, last minute i decided to go to the national mall and watch the fireworks. while i waited, made a bracelet out of a plastic bead kit i got in the mail. admire my amurican garb.



at night, the washington monument looks like a vampire. it has red eyes and fangs.







during the song 'happy,' they had smiley face fireworks. i approved.

after the fireworks, i decided to finish my day (and also avoid the loud house party downstairs) by watching house of cards and enjoying my root beer, lemon bar, and cola gummies.



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saturday, i decided to go back to alexandria. the original plan was to see the historic sites, but i left late and ran out of time shopping. instead, i had a late lunch at an irish pub.





i sat in front of this beauty.



i had pork chops with some kind of cider gravy, mashed potatoes, and vegetables.

i then walked to st. mary's cemetery, which was established in 1795!






demon baby.



i am probably going to hell for this, but i found moriarty!



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sunday, we went to arlington national cemetery.







robert e. lee, the general of the confederates during the civil war, used to also live on the property. the nps maintains the house. 



part of the site is also the slave quarters.



arlington also has a marble amphitheater.







we also saw the tomb of the unknown soldier and the changing of the guards.




we walked back (which is 4 miles!) and on the way, we had to stop at the vietnam war memorial. i had to visit my old friend willie j. foster. did i know him personally? no. during my 8th grade dc trip, every student was given a flower to give to someone. i chose willie j. foster. sunday, was my third time visiting him and every time i have come to dc i visit him. 



now for a song! once again, we are going back to high school. recently, i listened to paramores new albulm. i have always liked them and this album is no exception. haha, that was an accidental pun. my favorite song is 'last hope.'